SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Authorities in Puerto Rico are investigating the deaths of 35 cats at a horse racing facility, police said Tuesday.

A security guard making the rounds at the Camarero Hippodrome in the northern town of Canovanas found the dead cats and called police, authorities said in a statement. A message left at the track complex was not immediately returned.

A necropsy was underway on one of the cats to determine what killed the animals, police said, adding that poison was suspected.

Puerto Rico approved a law in 2008 to prosecute animal cruelty. The law was signed in the U.S. territory a year after animal control workers seized dozens of dogs and cats from a public housing project in northern Puerto Rico and threw them over a bridge.

Witnesses said at the time that many of the discarded animals were dead but some were still alive when they were tossed.

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